Gordian Knotes

The problem of the parable of the Gordian Knot is that it's stated badly: We have a knot that nobody can untie, and Alexander solves the problem by cutting the knot.

When I encountered that parable (in a book about management theory, as it happens), I thought the meaning was obvious: Alexander was a man with a sword, and to a man with a sword everything looks like -- well, something you cut. He had either been frustrated by the task, or had thought it was silly, but he clearly didn't take it seriously.

As I read on, though, it became clear to me that I was supposed to see cutting the knot as a good thing. It was an example of "lateral thinking."

Here's the thing: Anybody can change the rules. It's not hard. The real question is this: What's more important, the rules or the solution?

One way of looking at it: people who are ends-focused will cut the knot. People who are means-focused will try to untie it.

Another way: people who value the integrity of the rope will untie the knot. People who don't care about it will cut it.

I usually prefer to be left with as much sound, un-frayed rope as possible.

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Longchamp Outlet

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Coach Outlet

By Stephen FidlerWhen banks fail, should depositors be burned alongside holders of senior bank debt or should debt holders lose money before depositors are touched?That question, now under consideration in Brussels as part of discussions over a new ??esolution regime??for dealing with failing European banks, is topical after the Cyprus rescue package imposed losses on big depositors in that country?? two largest banks.In Cyprus, once a decision had been made to limit its rescue to ??0 billion, there wasn?? much choice but to burn bank depositors: Cypriot banks hadn?? raised much funding from bondholders. But, there will usually be more debt to ??ail in??€?s the jargon has it??hen a bank fails in the future.Yet, the European Commission proposal on bank resolution from last summer, now being debated by member states and the European Parliament, is non-committal. It says only that insured depositors should not be bailed in.The idea that depositors should be preferred in bank resolution over bondholders??nown as depositor preference??s well established in the U.S.When a bank fails, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation pays out uninsured depositors??hich include itself after it has taken over the claims of insured depositors??efore any other claimants.The U.S. experience is an argument in itself for Europe to adopt a similar rule. ??epositor preference is what they have in the U.S. and the U.S. #file_links\keywords14.txt,1,S] system is what works least bad,??said Nicolas V?ron, of the Brussels-based Bruegel think tank.Depositor preference in some form is also baked into legislation in a number of EU countries, including Germany and the U.K. The main advantage appears to be that it increases depositor confi #file_links\keywords13.txt,1,S] dence and reduces the risk of bank runs in a crisis.The European Parliament has picked up on this issue. The #file_links\keywords15.txt,1,S] commission proposal, as it stands now, is too unclear on where uninsured depositors sit in the pecking order, says Gunnar H?kmark, a lawmaker from Sweden who will lead the Parliament?? negotiations on the file with EU member states.??nprotected depositors will still be the last to be bailed in,??he predicted, adding that he expects a firm depositor preference to be one of the key issues that lawmakers will fight for in their negotiations.But the issue is not clear cut and there are potential disadvantages to depositor preference. Preferring depositors explicitly may increase the cost of funding for banks, and potentially further weaken the market in inter-bank loans. Some policy makers worry also that depositor preference could also provide incentives for banks to pay over the odds for deposits, and therefore encourage depositor recklessness about where they put their money.Whatever solution is settled upon, it s bound to affect investor choice. If there?? a straightforward depositor preference, certificates #file #file_links\keywords11.txt,1,S] _links\keywords12.txt,1,S] of deposit are likely to be favored by investors over like-maturity bank bonds.Officials and lawmakers are also deliberating over whether to exclude inter-bank loans of less than one month from bail-in. Excluding short-term deposits would reassure the key market in overnight bank loans, but could well make the inter-bank market less stable by encouraging lenders to keep loan maturities below one month.Ideally, a resolution regime would treat risk-taking investors of similar rank alike, whether they have formally invested in deposits or bank debt. It should distinguish such investors from depositors using banks to make payments, including, for example, companies using large deposits to pay workers. In practice, drawing this line precisely, as the Cypriot case showed, is hard to achieve.(Additional reporting by Gabriele Steinhauser)